Politics & Campaigns


MPs comment to the media that we need to stand up to the WHO over our track record with vapes. Meanwhile, the Commons continues to discuss teen use and illegal products

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Tory MPs Craig Whittaker and Mark Jenkinson comment to the media that the UK needs to stand up to the WHO over our track record with vapes. Meanwhile, the Commons continues to discuss teen use, how widespread the illegal products are, and when the Government is going to get around to publishing its response to the youth vaping consultation.

Speaking to The Sun, in reference to the forthcoming COP10 where international delegates will ignore evidence supporting vaping, Craig Whittaker said: “It is essential that at COP10 we stand up for our record and policies as a world leader on tobacco harm reduction. The UK is on the right course in providing access to less harmful alternatives to smoking, and we shouldn’t let the WHO restrict this.”

Mark Jenkinson continued: “We cannot allow the WHO and other EU nations to dictate our domestic health policy.”

This year could be the first time the UK delegation pushes our collective position – but the Government has refused to disclose its priorities.

Mark Logan, Conservative MP for Bolton North East, asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what steps are being taken to tackle youth vaping.

Neil O'Brien, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, provided a surprisingly comprehensive response: “We have regulations in place to discourage underage vaping. The law protects children through restricting sales of vapes to people aged 18 years old and over, limiting nicotine content, refill bottle and tank sizes, labelling requirements and through advertising restrictions.

“In October 2022, we published new content on the potential risks of vaping for young people on the FRANK and Better Health websites and we have provided input to educational resources produced by partners including the PSHE Association. We have recently added new resources for schools on the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities’ (OHID) Schools Zone online platform to support schools in educating children about vapes.

“Earlier this year, OHID launched a call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children accessing and using vape products. The call for evidence has now closed and we will respond shortly.”

Ruth Jones, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care a stream of identical questions with minor differences. She wanted to know how many illegal vaping products were in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Leicestershire, Cornwall, Devon, Buckinghamshire and Yorkshire in each of the last five years.

Jones didn’t explain why she wasn’t concerned about illegal products in any of the other counties of England or why she didn’t just say “by county”.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary O'Brien stepped up to the plate, fresh from his lengthy response to Mark Logan. Delivering an equally exhaustive and illuminating answer, he said: “This information is not held centrally.”

Finally, Gregory Campbell, the DUP’s Shadow Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, asked the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care what the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities timescales are for publishing its response to the consultation entitled Youth vaping.

Neil O'Brien (once again) promised that the Government will respond to the youth vaping call for evidence in the coming weeks – just don’t hold your breath.

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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